What is hidradenitis suppurativa (HS)?
When you're living with HS, it's easy to feel isolated. But you're not alone. Millions of people around the world are living with HS. In the US alone, it’s estimated that up to 200,000 people have moderate to severe HS. Watch the video to learn more.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin disease.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic (long-lasting) skin condition. When it starts, you may begin to notice small bumps under your skin that may seem to be the size of a pea or marble.
These bumps usually start to develop in areas where you have hair.
- Under the arms
- The groin area
- The buttocks
They can also occur where sweat glands are located.
- Under the breasts
- The buttocks
- The inner thighs
In other words, places where skin rubs together.
What causes hidradenitis suppurativa?
The exact cause of HS is unknown, but the immune system is believed to play a part.
- HS begins in hair follicles in areas where there are many oil and sweat glands
- These follicles can get clogged with bacteria and other substances
- The immune system may overreact to clogged hair follicles, which can become inflamed. These inflamed follicles cause the painful HS breakouts you see on your skin
To target the inflammation that contributes to HS, you have to target the inflammation inside your body, not just the outside symptoms. That's what HUMIRA does. It's the first and only FDA-approved treatment for moderate to severe HS.
Learn more about how HUMIRA works to treat HS by blocking inflammation that's happening beneath the skin.
Who tends to get hidradenitis suppurativa?
- Three times as many women get HS as men
- HS usually begins after puberty but starts before menopause
- People who have a family member with HS are more likely to develop HS themselves
It's caused by the immune system. Don't blame yourself.
Living with HS can be frustrating and even embarrassing. It's good to know the facts and to dispel some common misconceptions.
- HS isn't contagious—no one can catch it from you
- HS isn't caused by poor hygiene—it has nothing to do with showering or washing
- HS is not an STD
The important thing to know is, HS is caused by the immune system, not something you caused yourself.
Want to know more? Sign up to receive helpful information about how HUMIRA can help treat your HS symptoms.
An HS vocabulary lesson.
Knowing the right words to use can help when you’re talking with your dermatologist. Here’s a list of words you’ll see when learning about HS.
Abscess—Swollen area on the body that contains fluid
Chronic—Continues for a long time and progresses slowly
Fistula—An opening on the surface of the skin from a tunnel of connecting abscesses
Nodule—A lump on the skin that may look like a pimple or cyst
In this Section
Meet some of the first patients who treated their moderate to severe HS with HUMIRA.Go to HS Yearbook Project
HUMIRA is a prescription medicine used to reduce the signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa in adults.
Your safety is important to us. Learn about our Important Safety Information.
Important Safety Information About HUMIRA® (adalimumab)1
What is the most important information I should know about HUMIRA?
You should discuss the potential benefits and risks of HUMIRA with your doctor. HUMIRA is a TNF blocker medicine that can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. You should not start taking HUMIRA if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor says it is okay.
Serious infections have happened in people taking HUMIRA. These serious infections include tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. Some people have died from these infections. Your doctor should test you for TB before starting HUMIRA, and check you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with HUMIRA, even if your TB test was negative. If your doctor feels you are at risk, you may be treated with medicine for TB.
Cancer. For children and adults taking TNF blockers, including HUMIRA, the chance of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase. There have been cases of unusual cancers in children, teenagers, and young adults using TNF blockers. Some people have developed a rare type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma. This type of cancer often results in death. If using TNF blockers including HUMIRA, your chance of getting two types of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell) may increase. These types are generally not life-threatening if treated; tell your doctor if you have a bump or open sore that doesn’t heal.
What should I tell my doctor BEFORE starting HUMIRA?
Tell your doctor about all of your health conditions, including if you:
- Have an infection, are being treated for infection, or have symptoms of an infection
- Get a lot of infections or infections that keep coming back
- Have diabetes
- Have TB or have been in close contact with someone with TB, or were born in, lived in, or traveled where there is more risk for getting TB
- Live or have lived in an area (such as the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys) where there is an increased risk for getting certain kinds of fungal infections, such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, or blastomycosis. These infections may happen or become more severe if you use HUMIRA. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if you have lived in these areas.
- Have or have had hepatitis B
- Are scheduled for major surgery
- Have or have had cancer
- Have numbness or tingling or a nervous system disease such as multiple sclerosis or Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Have or had heart failure
- Have recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine. HUMIRA patients may receive vaccines, except for live vaccines. Children should be brought up to date on all vaccines before starting HUMIRA.
- Are allergic to rubber, latex, or any HUMIRA ingredients
- Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed
- Have a baby and you were using HUMIRA during your pregnancy. Tell your baby’s doctor before your baby receives any vaccines
Also tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. You should not take HUMIRA with ORENCIA® (abatacept), KINERET® (anakinra), REMICADE® (infliximab), ENBREL® (etanercept), CIMZIA® (certolizumab pegol), or SIMPONI® (golimumab). Tell your doctor if you have ever used RITUXAN® (rituximab), IMURAN® (azathioprine), or PURINETHOL® (mercaptopurine, 6-MP).
What should I watch for AFTER starting HUMIRA?
HUMIRA can cause serious side effects, including:
- Serious infections. These include TB and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria. Symptoms related to TB include a cough, low-grade fever, weight loss, or loss of body fat and muscle.
- Hepatitis B infection in carriers of the virus. Symptoms include muscle aches, feeling very tired, dark urine, skin or eyes that look yellow, little or no appetite, vomiting, clay-colored bowel movements, fever, chills, stomach discomfort, and skin rash.
- Allergic reactions. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include hives, trouble breathing, and swelling of your face, eyes, lips, or mouth.
- Nervous system problems. Signs and symptoms include numbness or tingling, problems with your vision, weakness in your arms or legs, and dizziness.
- Blood problems (decreased blood cells that help fight infections or stop bleeding). Symptoms include a fever that does not go away, bruising or bleeding very easily, or looking very pale.
- Heart failure (new or worsening). Symptoms include shortness of breath, swelling of your ankles or feet, and sudden weight gain.
- Immune reactions including a lupus-like syndrome. Symptoms include chest discomfort or pain that does not go away, shortness of breath, joint pain, or rash on your cheeks or arms that gets worse in the sun.
- Liver problems. Symptoms include feeling very tired, skin or eyes that look yellow, poor appetite or vomiting, and pain on the right side of your stomach (abdomen). These problems can lead to liver failure and death.
- Psoriasis (new or worsening). Symptoms include red scaly patches or raised bumps that are filled with pus.
Call your doctor or get medical care right away if you develop any of the above symptoms.
Common side effects of HUMIRA include injection site reactions (pain, redness, rash, swelling, itching, or bruising), upper respiratory infections (sinus infections), headaches, rash, and nausea. These are not all of the possible side effects with HUMIRA. Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
Remember, tell your doctor right away if you have an infection or symptoms of an infection, including:
- Fever, sweats, or chills
- Muscle aches
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in phlegm
- Weight loss
- Warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body
- Diarrhea or stomach pain
- Burning when you urinate
- Urinating more often than normal
- Feeling very tired
HUMIRA is given by injection under the skin.
This is the most important information to know about HUMIRA. For more information, talk to your health care provider.
HUMIRA is a prescription medicine used:
- To reduce the signs and symptoms of:
- Moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone, with methotrexate, or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.
- Moderate to severe polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) in children 2 years of age and older. HUMIRA can be used alone, with methotrexate, or with certain other medicines.
- Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) in adults.
- Moderate to severe Crohn's disease (CD) and to achieve and maintain clinical remission in adults who have not responded well to certain other medications. HUMIRA is also used to reduce signs and symptoms and to achieve clinical remission in these adults who have lost response to or are unable to tolerate infliximab.
- Moderate to severe Crohn's disease (CD) and to achieve and maintain clinical remission in children 6 years of age and older when certain other treatments have not worked well enough.
- Moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in adults.
- In adults, to help get moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) under control (induce remission) and keep it under control (sustain remission) when certain other medicines have not worked well enough. It is not known if HUMIRA is effective in people who stopped responding to or could not tolerate anti-TNF medicines.
- To treat moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis (Ps) in adults who are ready for systemic therapy or phototherapy, and are under the care of a doctor who will decide if other systemic therapies are less appropriate.
- To treat non-infectious intermediate (middle part of the eye), posterior (back of the eye) and panuveitis (all parts of the eye) (UV) in adults.
Reference: 1. HUMIRA Injection [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: AbbVie Inc.